How and why did the Industrial Revolution spread to the rest of Europe after 1815?
Britain was the birthplace origin of Industrial Revolution. With the invention of different kinds of manufacturing machines that increased production, used minimal human labor, and saved time, the growth and evolution of industries was inevitable. The main objective of this essay will be to determine how and why the Industrial Revolution spread to the rest of Europe from the 18th century to the 20th century. This is the period where there was the transformation from the local rural agrarian societies to the urban societies. Industrial revolution is the transition of the manufacturing industries which relied on hand making techniques to using machines. This led to mass production especially in the textile industries, iron making, and the growth of other industries.
The growth of the transport industry is one of the main driving factors to the spread of Industrial Revolution across Europe from 18th to 20th century. Land and water transport were used for movement and they were facilitated by the innovation of steam-powered locomotives, steam-powered boats and ships (Rosen 34). Manufacturing industries relied on the road and water transport system for the easy facilitation of the delivery of their goods to the local and international market. It contributed to the importation and exportation of manufactured goods and services and helped in covering a bigger market. Industrial Revolution through transport led to a steady economic growth as villages turned to cities and there was growth in population as people relocated to these cities from their rural areas to work.
During the 18th and 20th century, there was an increase in population. This growth in population was due to mass relocation of people from the rural to urban areas mostly to work in the industries. This led to congestion in the cities as they were over-populated with workers. This movement contributed to the spread of Industrial Revolution to other cities and countries. The increase in labor force ensured mass production that would meet the required demands leading to economic growth (Spielyogel 490). However, Industrial Revolution had both positive and negative impacts to its citizens. Aristocrats were favored by the Industrial Revolution with the demand for farm produce, expansion of cities, railways, mines, and so on as they were situated on their land. This meant an increase in their rental income and economic growth. For the working-class and the poor, they experienced poor living and working conditions, congestion, poor sanitation and lack of clean water (Hobsbawm and Wrigley 58).
Industrial Revolution made industries and cities to develop a need that the agrarian society had not demanded. This was the need for literacy education. The cultural evolvement from rural to urban demanded change in the outlook and knowledge. Education became an essential need for modernization and this led to economic development. This was possible due to commercial prosperity that made it affordable for people to pay for education and knowledge (Allen 11).
In summary, Industrial Revolution was spread by the innovations in the transport industry. Introduction of steam-engine locomotives, steam-engine boats and ships played a big role in the actualization of this revolution and consequently economic growth. Growth in population led to increase in labor force meaning increase in production to meet the high demands and reach a wider market. Modernization created the need for education and knowledge which made people change their way of thinking thus the onset of Western Civilization.
Allen, Robert C. The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective. New York: Cambridge
University Press, 2009.
Hobsbawm, Eric J. and Wrigley Chris. Industry and Empire: From 1750 to the Present Day.
New York: The New Press, 1999.
Spielyogel, Jackson J. Western Civilization: A Brief History. Boston:Cengage Learning, 2010.
William, Rosen. The Most Powerful Idea in The World: A Story of Steam, Industry, And
Invention. New York: Random House, 2010.
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